I have been a good customer of Trader Joe's for 39 years. The customer service has really gone downhill recently. I was helping the cashier pack my bags, and another employee walked up and tried to grab the bags and put them in the cart before we were finished packing. I told him not to worry, that I would get them. He got angry, so I explained that we weren't finished packing them; he then got right up in my face (too close) and stared me down in a very intimidating and angry manner for too long. He was angry and said, "I was TRYING to HELP you!" I explained that we just weren't finished packing them. He continued to stand there in my face and stare me down. I told him that I just wanted to finish packing. He shrugged his shoulders, continuing the intimidating demeanor, refusing to move.
I tried to speak to a manager at the store, who kind of shrugged it off, but did say he would talk to them. I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. Marlin told me he is a manager and I could talk to him. I was telling him about what happened and he hung up the phone before I could tell him what happened. I called customer service in Monrovia, California and spoke to an employee. She was very apologetic and assured me that the store General Manager is a very amazing woman and would contact me and take care of the problem. She said she was going to contact the Regional Manager and that he would contact the General Manager.
A couple of days went by and no one contacted me so I called the customer service number again. I was forwarded to the same customer service employee who informed me that I needed to go into the store to speak with the General Manager. I asked her why I needed to go into the store, as I am very busy, and usually these matters are handled over the phone. She said that was because I go into the store to shop anyway. I told her that whether I was going to shop at the store depended on how the problem was handled.
I then got a call from the Eugene General Manager after about ten minutes. Apparently the customer service person I talked to who assured me that she would take care of the problem had miscommunication what I told her which had angered the General Manager, so she did not want to help me. She expressed that she was very angry with me because she 'likes to handle things at a store level' (read she was very angry that I called customer service). I reminded her that I tried to talk to someone while I was in the store, and then tried to call, but was hung up on before I could explain the problem.
The Eugene General Manager then went on to say that since I had a bad experience at 'her' store that she had decided that she did not want me to come back to her store. (I grocery shop there every week. I have been a Trader Joe's customer for 39 years.) She did not even give me a chance to tell her what the problem was. So why did she want me to come into the store, so she could abuse me in person?
I called back to talk to the customer service employee, and she started being very rude to me, and said that she felt it was better that I not return to the store. She also ragged on me about my intention to post these experiences on Yelp.com, because as she said "Oh, I guess you have so much time to go posting this on Yelp." Does that mean that all of the people that post to Yelp are bad people because they have too much time on their hands? (I am very busy which is why I wanted to talk to the manager on the phone rather than driving over to the store.) Yelp and sites like it are what is keeping businesses honest and accountable. Why wouldn't I post this experience to Yelp in light of the fact that I have been a very good customer of Trader Joe's for 39 years?
I tried to talk to the Customer Service Manager, and she said that they never over-turn the decision of the General Manager. She also told me that the customer service employees at the headquarters (including the Customer Service Manager) were talking about me and blaming me for the problems; as well as the employees at the Eugene (including the General Manager) were talking about me behind my back and blaming me. They never even spoke to me to let me explain what happened. So I guess the employee who was intimidating me said it was my fault/he didn't do it (of course), and they just took his word for it?
Other problems I had during that same shopping trip include trying to get help from an employee, and they rudely refused; and twice I asked other employees for help and they ignored me and kept walking.
If you have a problem with employees at the store (read the reviews, I am not the only one) and the employees in the store blow you off, forget trying to call customer service, because that will just make the store manager angry and they won't help you. So I guess any employee can intimidate or abuse any customer, for no reason at all, and there is no solution to the problem. So I guess any employee can intimidate or abuse any customer, for no reason at all, and there is no resolution. Is anyone safe shopping there when an employee can threaten a customer, for no good reason, and then the rest of the employees join in on the abuse? Unless your a young hipster I suggest the new Whole Foods that will be opening up in August, or one of the many local stores. I will not be returning.